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December 9, 2014


Why I’m learning German in January

In a few weeks, I’m taking on the uTalk challenge – using the app to see how much I can learn in the 31 days of January.

I’ve been trying to decide which language to go for; there wasn’t any particular one that I needed for a holiday or work trip, so I had the full choice of 100 languages in the app to pick from. Having the opportunity to learn something just for the pure fun of it is great, although 100 is a lot of options for someone as indecisive as I am.

My first thought was to learn Catalan, so I’m prepared for my next trip to Barcelona, whenever that may be. But as I already speak Spanish, it seemed like a bit of a cheat. Although there are significant differences between the two languages, on the whole they’re similar enough to give me an unfair advantage over my colleagues!

So then I decided to use the power of Facebook, and asked my friends which language they thought I should learn. I got various suggestions – Japanese, Navajo, Lithuanian, Welsh…

I was tempted by them all, but in the end I think I’ve finally made a decision. So this January, I’ll be having a go at German.German

There were a few reasons for this. Firstly, I never got the chance to learn German at school, because we had to choose either Spanish or German. I’ve never regretted choosing Spanish, which I went on to study at A-Level and university, but from time to time I’ve wondered what might have happened if I’d gone for the other option.

Secondly, German looks quite tricky, and I figured if I was going to take on a challenge, I might as well do it properly. I’m a bit fascinated by the language, too, with its hugely long words; from what I can tell, you can come up with a word for just about anything by sticking others together. And it has some great proverbs.

Also, Germany’s close enough for me to pop over for a long weekend if I want to practise, whereas some of the other options, like Japanese and Navajo, are spoken a bit further afield. Maybe next year…

Finally, one of my favourite words is German. Backpfeifengesicht means ‘a face badly in need of a fist’. And as far as I’m concerned, a language that can come up with a word to describe that has to be worth a look.

Anyone want to join me?



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